Crime Tape
These past few weeks in the Baton Rouge community have been peppered with violence and unwarranted crime.
 
A city we love, work, and worship has become a battleground of young people and violence. Where did they the learn to be so violent? Is violence the only way to communicate when we have differences?

First, we all must be committed to making Baton Rouge a better place for all her citizens. We can not blame any one person for the violence. It belongs to all of us. Someone once said, “for evil to exist, good people remain silent.”
 
We cannot remain silent anymore. We must invest in our young people and not be afraid to share our time and our energy. As a youth in Florida, I remember those persons who spent weekends and evenings to help me grow and mature to become a productive young person.

Secondly, we must share our stories with our youth. We all made mistakes, but we did not settle our issues with gun violence. We were taught the value of humanity and life. Dr. Martin Luther King called it personalism: the value of the human personality. We must teach value and love toward each other. Our faith must extend to help others handle life’s existential problems and circumstances.
 
Lastly, we all must help support and develop youth activities for the Baton Rouge community. We must develop safe spaces for our youth, and we have to teach non-violence as a lifestyle and a way of communicating. Peace does not mean weakness, but strength.
 
At Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, we have developed a swimming ministry, STEM Community Camp and other activities to help our youth focus on positive behavior and encouragement. It takes time, money and commitment.
 
We must save our youth and our community. If we do not do it, who will do it?
 
Herman Kelly is an adjunct instructor in LSU's African and African American Studies Department and pastor at Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Baton Rouge. 
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